Posts tagged ‘priorities’

Ten Rules that help get the Job Done


A lot of people respect and admire the work of a good consultant/manager. At the same time, however, it is very hard to find people who would appreciate the methods half as much as they appreciate their results.

This short write-up will try and explain how (in my finite and prone to error opinion) being nice (with an exploitative, opportunistic audience), or being forgiving (with someone who will go right back to sleep once you turn around) is not always a prime priority when you set out to get the job done – however big or small the context may be. The objective is to help management professionals realize how a bit of tweaking within our daily stance for work can lead to massive changes w.r.t productivity and results.

The following applies to both a 5 year sprint at a tech company as well as your next visit to the grocers for celery.

What to do (and more importantly, what NOT to do) is summarized in the following points:

1. Prioritize.
Know what you are setting out to do, make it your number ONE priority (not the second, third or fourth). If you want a ‘work-life balance’, you wont make it to the top.

2. Plan.
Plan BEFORE you jump into the water. Not when you’re halfway out of breath. ‘it’ll work out’ is for losers. Proactive>reactive>ignorant. Sun Tzu – AOW says – The winning general first seeks victory, then seeks battle. You normally get stuck at things ‘you didn’t foresee’ first off. Think of all possibilities, and your reaction to each of them. Do it all the time.

3. Act.
If you intend to sit on your hands, stay home. In the words of Alladins genie, “thats the problem with doing the right thing, you have to do it all by yourself.” Don’t expect people to deliver. Be prepared to get your hands dirty, and lead from the front. If you’re not in a situation you can control on your own, you have bitten off more than you can chew. Supportive people are an added luxury, not a necessity. You will have to work with the best (who will question/attempt to supersede your authority every step of the way) and the worst (who will pretty much fail at every other task). Be ready to handle both, by example.

4. Delegate
If you think you can do it all on your own, you probably can, but that will slow you down. No amount of expertise will give you a 25th hour in the day. So delegate. effectively. Give more work (and rewards) to someone who delivers. Take work off someone who doesn’t. Continue to do that until one turns into the other, just like free market mechanics. Do not compromize on quality. Set clear expectations, and do not tolerate sustained failure to meet them.

5. Be Just – Not Nice

This is the part most people fail at, as managers. Leading is not about being a nice guy (or a jerk for that matter). its about being able to do both, as and when needed. Be just. reward the guy that deserves it, to an extent that it inspires others to follow. Conversely, kick when you need to, and kick hard enough for trash to stay out of your team.


Whatever you do, don’t..

6. Bluff (esp. when you KNOW you’re wrong).

Go by logic. Just because you’re in-charge doesn’t mean you cant be wrong. If someone has shown you a better way, take it, and acknowledge their guidance. Unless you want them to supersede you in the long run.

7. Be distracted.

When at work, use your head. Not your ..heart. Mind on the money. Nowhere else. If somethings distracting you, that means its a priority over work.

8. Do unto others that you do not wish in return.

The categorical imperative. Yes, it works professionally. E.g. Don’t fire a guy for incompetence if you don’t want to get fired for incompetence yourself.
Normally what people do in response to this logic, is that they stop firing incompetent people. What you’re SUPPOSED to do, is stop being incompetent, so you can fire as many incompetent people as is necessary. Don’t breed the same weaknesses within you that you despise within others.

9. be a people pleaser

You set out to get the job done, remember. Prioritize. Most of us make a mess of priorities when it comes to interacting with/convincing others. If you wont give your subordinate a piece of your mind when he messes up the first time, he will mess up again, and probably lose his job if you’re not there to cover up again. Similarly, taking unnecessary shit from your boss once will only help ease it on again, harder next time. So, do whats needed, say whats needed, in a politically accurate way.

10. Stand in line

You won’t ever get ahead when you’re standing in line like everyone else. Respect yourself and find a legitimate alternative. If you feel there is a better way around, take it. Show others that its better. Nothing speaks for itself better than success. Do not doubt your ability as an individual and do not stand in need of appreciation / approval from people. The only person you need to convince w.r.t. your skill, is yourself. How far you get in life is directly dependent on how much you respect the person you see in the mirror every day.

Hope this helps. Questions and comments welcome!


What will you accomplish today?

Peace everyone.

A topic that I’ve always wanted to write on, never really found the time for it. Writing after 2 years almost, havent had the time to do it. All my words are usually paid for these days, too much work on the professional side.

Our life cycle - best mapped by a neverending staircase of wants.

Anyways, here goes. As the topic suggests, this article is about a fact that we seldom realize, until its too late. Its about how the world around us shapes our actions, rather than it happening the other way around. Objective is to help readers understand how to prevent loss of priorities in life.

I’ll try n explain with simple examples of my life, and hope that readers can relate to them. But before I do that, a quick litmus test. How many of you actually remember the last thing you were about to do before you started reading this article? Now that I have mentioned it, it will jog your memory a little. But if i hadn’t, this article has taken you away from something you were ‘about to do’.

This happens a lot everyday. And it happens so frequently, amongst everyday misdirection around us, that we tend to forget what our priorities are, and over a period of time, we tend to forget our initial objectives in life, grab new ones, n the cycle continues from one goal to another. There are very few people out there that actually stick to a goal and get it done, most just keep cycling from one thing to another, and before they realize it, they run out of time.

To understand how to stick to priorities, its also important to remember things. So, lets ask ourselves the question. Do we remember the very first moment of our consciousness in this world? We don’t. simpler question – what’s the most remote thing you remember about your childhood? If I talk about myself, I remember something from when i was barely 2 or 3 years old. we used to live in 2 flats, right next to my maternal grandparents. every morning I’d skip into my aunts kitchen, to have her feed me a spoon of sugar (ammi wouldn’t let me have sugar, jojo would).

So, first objective in life was sugar. then i can also remember wanting to reach the bathroom light switch myself, i was too short to do it. the endless jumping, seemed like forever when i finally got to turn it on by myself. another one was to break the crap outta my elder brothers dinky cars, with a small weight from the kitchen. that was fun too. and a couple of picturesque mags from my dads Road n track collection. couldnt even read, but it felt like I was a very learned person holding those mags in my hand all day.


So essentially, a kid is like a dog running after cars. once it catches up, it runs after the next one. doesn’t know what to do with a car it catches up with. Some of us never break out of that mindset. One thing is for sure though. everyone wants 4 things. Sustenance (food, drink etc), growth (physical, mental or skill), a sense of control,  and want of recognition/appreciation.

And we run after these  values like crazy in life, without even thinking about why we do it. we eat, work, run, love, sleep in a cyclic existence, fulfilling impulsive wants as and when they surface. later in life (provided that we have time to think about it) we sit and wonder where we ended up, and where we wanted to head in life.

Some people want to be scientists, others want to do art. Some want to do business, make money, others wanna live simple lives. Some just want to party around, others want to settle down. I guess what’s most important in a finite existence is to know exactly where to invest these limited resources. Over a period of time, one should learn to realize the difference between what they actually need, and what is just ‘induced impulsive behavior’.

Thirsty? get some coke. 5/10 readers or more would want to get some if its in the fridge right now. but the question is, do you really need  it? You don’t. you just ‘think’ you need it. You’re doing just fine without it. It makes you thirstier btw.  you can still get it if you want. but do note the point. you dont ‘need’ coke. you need water. you’want’ coke.

So, the most common mistake people make is that we forego needs for impulsive wants. Prioritizing wants over all else, we screw up a lot of things everyday. try not to do that. A litmus test for differentiating between needs and wants – needs stay the same, wants fade/change/evolve every time they are fulfilled.

Needs vs. wants

So, as a living being we should focus on providing ourselves with necessities first(like healthy food,water, residence, good clothing, hygiene, exercise, even a healthy sex life), and focus on that ‘expensive eatout’ or that ‘awesome movie’ later. Both are a means of taking your resources (time + money) away from you, and get you absolutely nothing in return. except maybe a fat belly over time.

So, priorities need to be set through cost V benefit analysis (standard economics) – not on the basis of hot chick creatives you see here n there. e.g. just because a chick looks hot wearing a sana safinas lawn print, that doesn’t mean you would look good after buying cloth that is 20 times overpriced. this is how you would look after you reconcile finances at the end of the month – O_O

And this happens every day, month, year. until we are left with nothing but gray hair and a constant backache. Seriously, most of the things we want are too expensive. to get those expensive things , we do ‘safe’ job careers, that give us money to spend on random things. because we know we will get this money again next month, we squander it every month. in exchange for our health, priorities and time. just money.

Solution – dont buy things that do not improve your income potential, or your physical/mental capabilities. invest in yourself, not mcdonalds, or chikni chameli for that matter.

another thing that a vast majority wastes opportunity cost on – is relationships (myself included). A relationship is the most important priority in every middle class/lower middle class person’s life. The problem statement contains the answer – prioritizing a relationship over your income potential will never let you progress beyond an ordinary individual. Be objective. Why do you need a relationship? For support and consolation, so that you can be true to your purpose in life, and share values with someone.

If all your’e doing is facilitating things that you’re least interested in, its not a relationship, its slavery. High rent residences, parlors, insta cook meals, eatouts, expensive fashion items and whatnot. that’s not what you set out to do. The objective of your creation is not to serve a woman (or a man for that matter). its to progress, to evolve, to be a productive part of an ecosystem. its not to be a facilitator for someone else’s wants, and destroy your priorities in the process. Which is why its imperative that people share values and priorities in relationships.

an example is that of my parents – the one good thing about their union was that they wanted their children to move to the next level, so they prioritized their children’s education over all else. It was a priority they shared, so it went through pretty easily. Other lesser topics, they differ on, and are still stuck with sorting them out, 34 years down the road.

Life is all about priorities. If you don’t remember where you come from, you will never know where to go. Set yourself priorities while you’re still young. Change priorities, but change them for the better, don’t change them circumstantially. People who progress in life are the ones who stick to their stances, and shape the world around them the way they see fit. Those who ‘go with the flow’ usually end up in places they don’t want to be.

So starting tomorrow, look yourself in the mirror every morning, and set an agenda on what you want to accomplish that day. Stick true to that stance, for a day for starters. see what you can accomplish. even 1 task out of 10 would be nice. build on that. stretch it to a week, a month, an year, 5 years. it will help you progress – and it will also help your bank statement.

Ill give you a very small example of myself. I’ve been working for 12 years now, and i think i wasted the first 6 years of my professional life ‘working very hard’ on things people told me to do.  It doesn’t get you anywhere, esp. if its not in line with your priorities. cash can only get you food on the table. which you’ll eat n egest every day. Net gain= zero.

Do what you’re good at, do your own thing. master it, be the best at it the way you think it should be done, it will give you self confidence. Don’t be hesitant about putting your income potential at the mercy of your brain cells (that’s how its supposed to be). Things will work out – better than they do now. All you need to do is stick to your priorities, and put effort in the direction you feel is best. Summing it up – try and do something within your finite lifespan that can benefit generations after you. That’s the only way to fulfil one’s purpose. We know such people, centuries after their deaths today. The ones we don’t know or remember, are the ones like us.

I’d like to end this by quoting something that’s my mission statement from Sun Tzu’s'Art of War’, goes like this..

‘A winning general first seeks victory, then seeks battle’.

Plan things out. Change it if necessary, but stay true to your objectives in life. Don’t forego an objective if its too hard, revisit the plan. The best way to get to point B from point A, is to keep walking in one, straight line. a merry go round approach never works.

Feel free to share experiences that relate to the context. Questions welcome.